Archive | RC44

Nika wins in Oman and Team Aqua clinch their fourth RC44 Tour title

Posted on 23 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: RC44 Class] The 2014 RC44 Championship Tour has seen the 13-strong fleet compete in five events across three continents, with the finale played out this week on the Gulf of Oman. With no team able to discard the last event of the season, the podium positions were by no means secure as last day of racing got underway at the RC44 Oman Cup, in a sedate seven-knot breeze.

Going into the final day Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika, with tactician Terry Hutchinson calling the shots, sat at the top of the leader board having shown an unmatched level of consistency throughout the four days of fleet racing in Muscat. Defending Champions Team Aqua looked to have the overall Championship Tour wrapped up, but didn’t get off to the best of starts on the final day, being called over the line in the opening race, rounding the windward mark last.

Vladimir Prosikhin at the helm of Team Nikа.© MartinezStudio.es

Vladimir Prosikhin at the helm of Team Nikа.© MartinezStudio.es

Out in front Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec, rounded the windward mark first. The Russian team were trying to get back onto the podium for the overall Tour after a disappointing first three days of racing in Oman. Tactician Michele Ivaldi called a perfect race; Bronenosec extended their lead throughout to take their first win of the event. Fellow countrymen Synergy finished second followed by Peninsula Petroleum with the RC44 Oman Cup overall leaders, Team Nika finishing fourth. Team Aqua could only recover to ninth place.

With the breeze increasing, Peninsula Petroleum looked like they would lead round the windward mark in the second race of the day. They went for the tack underneath Charisma, thought better of it, instead ducking the leading trio Charisma, Artemis and Bronenosec. Nico Poon’s extended his lead throughout to take Charisma’s third win in Oman, and jump into second overall ahead of Team Aqua, who by their high standards was having a bad day, finishing fifth and falling to third overall.

Fleet racing in Oman © Martinezstudio.es

Fleet racing in Oman © Martinezstudio.es

Team Nika had already secured the RC44 Oman Cup with a race to spare, the fight for the remaining podium positions was now on. Four-point separated Charisma in second from Aqua and Artemis, both tied on 52 point going into the final race. Nico Poon’s team didn’t start well, 10th at the top mark, but recovering to sixth by the leeward gate. Team Aqua, with Cameron Appleton calling the shots, dug deep moving up to second by the finish, Artemis one place behind. Charisma’s seventh dropped them down to third overall.

Team Nika joined the RC44 Tour in 2011, and today owner driver Vladimir Prosikhin enjoyed his first victory in the class. “It was a long journey, I wanted it badly and finally we’ve done it, it feels great. Somehow we sailed really well, everyone on board, we had great starts and everything just worked really well. It was a very enjoyable week, perfect conditions only once did we drop below the middle line which was our goal for the regatta, it’s an amazing feeling.”

Bronenosec Sailing Team (RUS18). © Martinezstudio.es

Bronenosec Sailing Team (RUS18). © Martinezstudio.es

Terry Hutchinson joined Team Nika half way through the 2014 season and has helped turn around the fortunes of the team: “This is the first regatta Nika has ever won; it’s awesome to be part of that. Vladimir is a really good man we’ve got a great team. We were so close in Cascais, so we weren’t going to let that happen again, the more you do this sport the more you realise everything just needs to fall in to place. Good starts, fast upwind and good boat speed we were reliable all week.”

Team Aqua successfully defended their RC44 Championship title for another year, the fourth time the team have lifted the trophy since joining the class in 2007. They didn’t make it easy for themselves though, as owner Chris Bake explained. “We certainly like making it difficult for ourselves! It went down to the last race of the last regatta, it just goes to show how competitive the fleet is and what good sailors, we were fighting pretty hard to hold on. It feels really good to win the title in this class when it is so competitive.”

John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum had struggled for consistency during the first two days in Oman, but found their form for the final half of the regatta to finish sixth, enough to be runners up for the 2014 Championship Tour.

New boys Charisma, with Tom Slingsby calling the shots, had their eye on a podium position after joining the Tour this season at the second event in Cascais, but in the end Russia’s Bronenosec had an amazing day to take the final podium position for 2014. Team Nika will be looking to make sure their feet are cemented to the podium next year, after a strong second half of the season pulled them up to fifth overall.

With the 2014 sealed all eyes are on next year. The 2015 RC44 Championship Tour will start in Valletta, Malta, City of the Knights, before making its debut in Porto Cervo, then heading back to a couple of the classes old favourites; Marstrand, Sweden and Cascais, Portugal. The finale for the year will see the class back in the Caribbean for some winter sun at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Virgin Gorda.

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Synergy crowned RC44 Match Race Champions in Oman

Posted on 20 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source:RC44 Class] The RC44 Oman Cup opened with the season’s final day of match racing. Defending champions Team Aqua held a slim one-point lead over Synergy Russian Sailing Team who were fighting for the trophy they last won in 2012. Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika started the day in third, with Hugues Lepic just two-points adrift in fourth and keen to get the French flag onto the podium.

Racing was delayed before a light 5-7 knot north-easterly breeze filled in. Flat water made for easy boat handling conditions, the 30-degree shifts made the tactician’s life difficult amongst the 10 boats.

Although Synergy was one point behind Team Aqua heading into the final event, the Russian team had one outstanding match from Sweden to complete. As the rest of the team’s headed out to the race course, Ed Baird at the helm of Synergy sailed a clean race to take the point against Charisma, now the points were equal, heading into the final six flights of the season.

Chris Bake arrived in Oman just hours ahead of racing to take the helm of Team Aqua, the defending match race champions won their first match; their next opponent was Synergy. An unforced error by Team Aqua, saw the experienced team enter the starting area early, and were punished by the umpires with their first penalty of the day. A close match endured, but it was Synergy, with America’s Cup veteran Ed Baird at the wheel, who took the win. It was to be the decider.

Synergy, jointly owned by Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedev, stayed unbeaten for the rest of the day and were crowned 2014 RC44 Match Race Champions; taking back the title they lost to Team Aqua in 2013. Baird gave credit to the hard work of the young Russian crew. “What a difficult day to finish the season on, it was light air shifty but the guys did a great job. We came from behind in a couple of races and the team really worked hard for it, they deserve it.

It’s been a fantastic season, having four boats that could win going into the final regatta is really exciting, it gives you a nice feeling at the end of the year to be in that position, but more importantly we were able to close the season on that feeling.”

The competition for third place was equally as hard fought. Team Aleph won their first three races of the day to close the gap on Team Nika, but the Russian team steered by owner Vladimir Prosikhin, did enough to take the final podium position. “It’s a fantastic position to finish in, I wanted to do better honestly, but it was great. In the second pre-start I got hit in the head by the boom and lost control and lost the race, I made a few mistakes where we were twice over (the line), once we recovered and once we lost to Synergy, so it was a difficult day. I enjoy the match racing more than the fleet racing, I believe it makes you a better sailor, it’s energetic, the boat handling is more important and it holds a huge value for me.”

The other stand out performance of the day was Nico Poons’ Charisma, who won five out of their seven races. The team joined the circuit in 2014 and will be a force to be reckoned with next season.

Team Aqua head into the final four-days of fleet racing with a one-point lead over second placed Peninsula Petroleum. Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec is a further two-point adrift. The final event of the season cannot be discarded, and the Championship is expected to go down to the wire, as Chris Bake explained “Tomorrow will be competitive we need to keep out head down, sail clean and have fun. “

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RC44 Grand Final Showdown in Oman

Posted on 17 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source:RC44 Class Association] The closing event of the 2015 Championship Tour will play out from the 19th – 23rd of November at the RC44 Oman Cup, Muscat. Hosted by Oman Sail, the season finale promises to be a close one. With both the Match Racing and Fleet Racing titles up for grabs and the top three teams all within touching distance, the big question is can anyone topple Team Aqua, to break their three-year domination.

The RC44 Oman Cup will kick off with a day of match racing, where either the professional tactician or owner can take the helm. The remaining four days will be fleet racing.

Currently leading the fleet racing is three times defending champion, Chris Bake’s Aqua in their familiar spot, but its not all been plain sailing this year for Bake. A sixth place at the RC44 Puerto Sotogrande Cup loosened their iron grip on the leaderboard slightly. Seizing the advantage, home team John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum, took the lead thanks to good teamwork from the crew and tactician Vasco Vascotto.

“The season so far has been great fun. The team have all worked very had and taken a serious step forward. From the bow all the way to just in front of the wheels the talent is awesome. Vasco is a genius which makes big difference, pair that with the hard work they all put in as a team is pretty much it.” explains Bassadone “The points are close but is business as usual. Try to be consistent, fight till the very end and enjoy it as much as possible.”

After a consistent event in tricky conditions at the RC44 Marstrand World Championship in Sweden, Team Aqua are back on top going in to the Oman Cup, holding a slim one-point lead over Peninsula Petroleum. Completing the top three, current World Champion Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team sits three points adrift, having won two regattas this season.

In the Match Racing, Team Aqua holds a slim one-point lead over the fleet. A strong match racing season for Synergy Russian Sailing Team, with America’s Cup veteran Ed Baird at the helm, puts them in second place. Two podium finishes this season for Vladimir Prosikhin ’s Team Nika sees them in third.

Returning to the Arabian port of Muscat for the second consecutive year Oman offers crystal clear water and a prevailing north-easterly wind providing great sailing conditions to end the season. The RC44 Oman Cup will take place over 19 – 23 November, with practice racing on Tuesday 18th November, 14.00 GST.

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2015 RC44 Championship tour dates announced

Posted on 11 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: RC44 Class] The RC44 Class enters its ninth year with the announcement of two new venues for their 2015 Championship Tour.

A total of five venues next year will see the Class start in its first new location – Valletta, Malta in March ahead of touring some of the finest sailing venues in Europe. This includes a debut for  Porto Cervo, Italy as well as old favorites Marstrand, Sweden and Cascais, Portugal before heading back to the Caribbean to finish the season in the winter sun at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Virgin Gorda.

2015 Championship Tour Schedule:

25 – 29 March  – RC44 Valletta Cup, Malta

17 – 21 June – Audi Porto Cervo Cup, Italy

28 July – 1 August – RC44 Marstrand Cup, Sweden

30 September – 4 October – RC44 Cascais World Championship, Portugal

25 – 29 November – RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup, British Virgin Islands

 

RC44 Class founder Russell Coutts comments, “ It’s fantastic to be taking the Tour to two new venues in 2015. The competition in the class is at phenomenal level and having new teams like Charisma, Artemis Racing Youth and Bombarda Racing joining the fleet and attracting first class sailors such as Tom Slingsby, Nathan Outteridge and Francesco de Angelis, is giving the leader board a shake up and allowing for any team to be on the podium for a regatta.”

Kicking off the season and making its debut on to the RC44 circuit is Malta’s renowned capital Valletta, City of the Knights. Built on a peninsula in one of the world’s largest and deepest natural harbours, this historic city on the East coast of Malta will offers the sailors a thrilling start to the season with prevailing westerly breeze of 11-15 knots and racing against the backdrop of the city’s magnificent fortress.

Peter Valentino, on behalf of host Yachting Event’s Ltd added, “It is a privilege to host the RC44 Class in Valletta, renowned for visiting some of the most beautiful and diverse sailing venues in the world.. We know we will offer the sailors a unique sailing environment and  some beautiful conditions for racing.”

The second stop on the Tour will again visit a new venue. The RC44 Class will debut in the debut of iconic Italian sailing haven of Puerto Cervo, as the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda hosts sailing’s elite in the spectacular conditions of Porto Cervo

Continuing their tour of Europe, the RC44 Class will then go on to return to two venues that are firm favourites. The forth event of the season will be hosted for the fifth consecutive year on the Swedish Island of Marstrand, before the RC44 World Championship takes place in the dramatic rolling Atlantic swell of Cascais, Portugal.

To finish off the season, the fleet will then make their winter migration to Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands for the final event of the season in the turquoise waters of the central Caribbean Sea.

2014 – too close to call

The final event of this year’s Championship Tour takes place in Muscat, Oman from the 19 – 23 November. With only three points separating the top three teams, defending Tour champions Team Aqua are trying to ensure they hold off the challenges from Peninsula Petroleum and Bronenosec in the grand finale.

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RC44 World Championship title to Bronenosec

Posted on 17 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: RC44 Class] After four action packed days of match racing and fleet racing, near gale force winds and substantial breaking waves on the race course caused the concluding races of the 2014 RC44 Marstrand World Championship to be cancelled.

Principal Race Officer Peter ‘Luigi’ Reggio explained: “The wind was over our normal limit of 26-28 knots at 2-3m, so at the top of the rigs it would have been 28-30. We were anticipating it dying down, but unfortunately the sea state wouldn’t die with it. So ultimately it was down to the sea state. You know the seas are rough when you have to pick the waves you turn the power boat around in and with occasional 3-3.5m swells there is no way the committee boat would have held.”

After nine races Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team has been crowned the RC44 Marstrand World Champion, finishing six points clear of Nico Poons’ Charisma, in turn four points ahead of Chris Bake’s Team Aqua in third place.

“I am very happy,” said Liubomirov, who is Commodore of the St Petersburg Yacht Club in Russia. “What is very symbolic for me is that my first experience with the RC44 was here in Marstrand one year ago. Michele (Ivaldi) was the coach for our team then, because we didn’t know this boat. This season he has become our tactician and I think this is really his victory, because he is our teacher, along with Cameron Dunn.”

This is Liubomirov’s second World Championship victory in as many weeks, coming to Sweden directly from winning the Gazprom Swan 60 Worlds in Palma last week.

Italian Tactician Michele Ivaldi was especially satisfied with the result as this is his second consecutive RC44 World Championship title having won as tactician for Igor Lah’s Team CEEREF in 2013. “Coming out top on the podium was unexpected, but we worked hard for it and we had the tools to do it. For sure it is great success,” he said.

As to the secret of winning back to back World Championships, he confided: “It’s down to the group. We started with a good group and after the first regatta I suggested some changes, bringing some of the core trimmers from last year, people I have been sailing with for the last two years in the class.” Specifically this was mainsail trimmer Paul Westlake and jib trimmer Maciel Cicchetti. “They are the real engine of the boat. They make the boat so fast, and speed always makes a tactician look smart! So we had good starts all week and being fast upwind we could always make the first shift.”

With three races scheduled today mathematically nine teams still could have won the World title if racing had proceeded. Realistically the competition was down to the top six with 14 points separating Bronenosec from local host Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing, up to sixth place after winning two of yesterday’s races.

34th America’s Cup winning strategist Tom Slingsby, tactician on Nico Poons’ second placed Charisma, felt that Peter Reggio had made the right call. “It is the sea state more than the wind. It is a shame because we were only six points away, plus we feel we are better in the strong conditions, so we were hoping to get out there. It’s disappointing because we finished on a bad race yesterday and we thought we had a chance to get it back today. Personally I wanted to win this one, but as a result for a new team – this is only our third regatta together – to beat Team Aqua and teams like that, who have been at it for a long time, is very good for Nico [Poons] and the team.”

Team Nika’s Vladimir Prosikhin also felt cancelling correct, particularly remembering what had occurred in the marginally better conditions on the final day here last year: “Our boat was taking on water – we had to hide behind the island to bail water out! Today it is quite rough outside and I believe it is the owners’ opinion that it is better to stay safe. We have had an excellent regatta, nothing’s broken, no one has been injured and that is very important.”

Peter Reggio concluded: “We have got nine really fair races in and you really don’t want to screw that up. If they had gone out today it would have been survival. It would not have been racing.”

For Chris Bake, a third place finish at this World Championship, along with a discard coming in for the overall 2014 series, has put his Team Aqua back on top of the leaderboard, reclaiming the coveted ‘golden wheels’ from John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum.

The RC44 Championship continues with its final event of 2014, the RC44 Oman Cup in Muscat over 19-23 November.

RC44 Marstrand World Championship Overall Ranking
(After nine races)

1. Bronenosec Sailing Team 6 9 3 2 1 3 6 4 2 – 36
2. Charisma 4 2 2 8 7 2 4 2 11 – 42
3. Team Aqua 2 4 5 3 5 4 10 10 3 – 46
4. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team 3 11 4 10 2 1 3 12 1 – 47
5. Team Nika 1 3 8 5 6 11 2 6 5 – 47
6. Artemis Racing 9 5 6 6 9 7 1 1 6 – 50
7. Katusha 13DNF 7 1 11 3 9 7 7 4 – 62
8. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge 5 13DNF 11 1 12 10 5 3 8 – 68
9. Bombarda Racing 7 8 10 9 4 5 11 5 9 – 68
10. Artemis Racing Youth 11 6 7 4 10 6 8 11 12 – 75
11. Synergy Russian Sailing Team 8 1 9 12 11 12 9 8 7 – 77
12. MAG Racing 10 10 12 7 8 8 12 9 10 – 86

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Artemis Racing advances in RC44 World Championship

Posted on 17 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: RC44 Class] Local Swedish fans were rewarded on the penultimate day of the RC44 Marstrand World Championship when Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing dramatically improved its performance, following mid-fleet finishes over the last two days.

The shifty on-shore southwesterly today provided good racing, despite the wind rarely gusting over 16 knots.

In the first race Artemis Racing got the inside berth on Team Nika at the second weather mark, enabling her to pull into the lead and extend down the final run into the finish.

In winning the race, the Swedish team became this World Championship’s seventh individual winner in as many races, giving some indication as to the intense level of competition. However Torbjörn Törnqvist’s team bucked this trend, going on to make it two in a row, by claiming race two. This proved similar to the first race only with the Swedish team faster out of the start, again pulling into the lead at the second top mark rounding but then hanging on down to the finish line within the tight confines of Marstrand Fjord.

With a sixth place in today’s third and final race, Artemis Racing now lies sixth overall, but only five points adrift of the podium.

“The biggest different today was that we were all very focussed, we had great boat speed and no real issues on the boat – when you have that it is easier,” admitted Törnqvist. There were no changes made overnight, however Törnqvist felt he had steered better “and everything worked well on board in terms of the teamwork and the tactics. It was one of those days…”

In the moderate conditions, boat handling was vital, but going the right way was paramount and Artemis Racing tactician and triple Olympic medallist Iain Percy felt his team had had some lucky breaks. “In a fleet of this standard, if you get some breaks, any of the boats is good enough to win. And we got some breaks… We had really good starts in all three races and the shifts fell our way upwind and we also had some good pace: Put that all together and suddenly we were at the front!”

Current tour leaders John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum have struggled to find consistency in Sweden with results solely in either the top four or the bottom three. While lying second in race two today, an umpire call went against them, the result of an incident with Bronenosec prior to the second leeward mark rounding. Italian tactician Vasco Vascotto was thrown by this and in error made to call to gybe once they were into the Marstrand Fjord, a move that caused them ultimately to finish the race last.

However the Gibraltar-based team regrouped and came out firing on all cylinders to win the final race. “We have had a very inconsistent regatta so far,” observed Bassadone. “In three races we have scored 33 points and in six races we have scored 14 points. We have had a 10, 11, 12, which is just unacceptable, all from different things: One OCS, one issue on the boat, which happens, and then the penalty. At least we showed character in the way that we came back and won the last one.”

Conversely showing the greatest consistency has been Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec, which with a 6-4-2 today has taken the lead overall, six points ahead of Nico Poons’ new RC44 team, Charisma.

“It was a tough day for us, because the first race was not successful,” said Liubomirov. “In the second unfortunately we had the small incident with Peninsula and they got the penalty, but we lost two places. The last one was amazing, a good recovery after the first two.”

Tomorrow, three more races are scheduled and with a return to the big conditions of the first two days of this regatta and winds gusting into the mid-20s, there remains a lot of racing still to go in this RC44 World Championship. As John Bassadone put it: “Tomorrow is going to be very tough because there are a lot of very good boats – Bronenosec is on fire, there’s Charisma and Artemis Racing today has shown its true form today…”

RC44 Marstrand World Championship Overall Ranking
(After nine races)

1. Bronenosec Sailing Team 6 9 3 2 1 3 6 4 2 – 36
2. Charisma 4 2 2 8 7 2 4 2 11 – 42
3. Team Aqua 2 4 5 3 5 4 10 10 3 – 46
4. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team 3 11 4 10 2 1 3 12 1 – 47
5. Team Nika 1 3 8 5 6 11 2 6 5 – 47
6. Artemis Racing 9 5 6 6 9 7 1 1 6 – 50
7. Katusha 13DNF 7 1 11 3 9 7 7 4 – 62
8. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge 5 13DNF 11 1 12 10 5 3 8 – 68
9. Bombarda Racing 7 8 10 9 4 5 11 5 9 – 68
10. Artemis Racing Youth 11 6 7 4 10 6 8 11 12 – 75
11. Synergy Russian Sailing Team 8 1 9 12 11 12 9 8 7 – 77
12. MAG Racing 10 10 12 7 8 8 12 9 10 – 86

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Bronenosec the star performer at RC44 World Championships

Posted on 15 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: RC44 Class] Three more races were held today at the RC44 Marstrand World Championship with a further three teams claiming race wins. Chris Bake’s Team Aqua has now taken the overall lead, but is just one point ahead of today’s decisive winner, Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team, in turn one ahead of the leader going into today’s racing, Dutch RC44 newbie Nico Poons and his Charisma team.

After two brisk days with strong, gusty winds from the SSW here off the Swedish west coast, there was a change in conditions for the second day of fleet racing with a lighter 10-13 knot northwesterly and a much reduced sea state.

St Petersburg Yacht Club fans were properly rewarded in the opening race, its two teams, scoring a 1-2. After a generally disappointing regatta to date, Kirill Podolsky’s Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge came out of the blocks strongly, just managed to edge into the lead at the top mark and then extended away around the rest of the race course. Finishing immediately behind Gazprom Youth was her team mate, Bronenosec. Picking up high scores in this first race were Peninsula Petroleum, Artemis Racing and Charisma, all of whom had started prematurely and had been forced to recross. Of the three, Charisma staged the best recovery, coming home eighth.

Vladimir Liubomirov’s sky blue RC44 continued the St Petersburg Yacht Club winning ways claiming race two, but it was a case of hero to zero for Gazprom Youth which was over the start line early, took too long to restart, ultimately finishing last.

Current fleet racing championship leader, John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum, started to show some of her expected form in today’s second race, coming home a worthy second to Bronenosec. The Gibraltar-based team then went on to claim victory in race three, with the race committee finishing the boats in Marstrand Fjord, next to the pretty village centre where the boats are moored.

Peninsula Petroleum’s 10-2-1 scoreline representing a trend to Bassadone’s liking: “I think we sailed a bit better today – we haven’t been sailing so well this week so far,” he admitted. “Not being over the line helps and we had a few other little things go wrong. Hopefully we are improving and will keep on improving.”

However the star performer was certainly Bronenosec with her 2-1-3. “We are strongest in the middle wind conditions like we had today, with little waves, but first of all I have a dream team,” said Vladimir Liubomirov, still kicking himself for the last race where his team had led around the leeward gate but subsequently dropped two places. “It was because probably we had two much tension after the first two races. Champions should be calm, more steady, but I am very happy today.” And he should know, having won the Gazprom Swan 60 World Championship only last week.

Bronenosec’s Italian tactician Michele Ivaldi praised Liubomirov’s performance as well as the trimmers’. “The boat was going fast today. A couple of times we sheared off from everyone just in terms of pure boat speed and upwind in particular we were flying across the shifts.”

This regatta is, of course, a World Championship so there is more at stake than any other RC44 regatta. John Bassadone is hoping to repeat his victory two years ago. “Definitely the World Championship is the most important race on this circuit and everyone has upped the level for this. More boats are winning, so it is very tough, but good fun.”

However also intent on coming out on top is Chris Bake. His Team Aqua hasn’t won the World Championship since 2007. It is a Trophy he’d dearly like back: “Winning would be special – it would it would round out an otherwise good season.”

Despite leading overall Team Aqua hasn’t won a race over the last two days and Bake acknowledges that his team’s performance is down to ‘not having mucked any one race up too badly’. “That was the story of today – staying out of trouble and when we were in trouble, we were able to dig our way out.”

Also hoping to make a late charge is Artemis Racing’s Torbjörn Törnqvist, currently lying sixth overall. As the Swedish entry, Törnqvist is effectively the regatta’s host and is pleased that this World Championship is taking place in Marstrand. “It is great that we do it here. It is a nice place. I was just hoping to do a little bit better than we have done so far. It is nothing specific, just small things. We try to work on it.”

Törnqvist has the added challenge this week of only being able to steer his boat with his right hand, as he is recovering from an operation on his left arm, which he is not allowed to use.

Racing continues tomorrow with the first warning signal at 11.30 local time, follow the racing live via the race blog and tracking at www.rc44.com
RC44 Marstrand World Championship Overall Ranking

(After six races)

1. Team Aqua
2 4 5 3 5 4 – 23
2. Bronenosec Sailing Team
6 9 3 2 1 3 – 24
3. Charisma
4 2 2 8 7 2 – 25
4. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team
3 11 4 10 2 1 – 31
5. Team Nika
1 3 8 5 6 11 – 34
6. Artemis Racing
9 5 6 6 9 7 – 42
7. Bombarda Racing
7 8 10 9 4 5 – 43
8. Katusha
13DNF 7 1 11 3 9 – 44
9. Artemis Racing Youth
11 6 7 4 10 6 – 44
10. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge
5 13DNF 11 1 12 10 – 52
11. Synergy Russian Sailing Team
8 1 9 12 11 12 – 53
12. MAG Racing
10 10 12 7 8 8 – 55

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Early lead for Charisma at RC44 World Championship

Posted on 14 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: RC44 Class] Fleet racing at the RC44 Marstrand World Championship got underway today in lively conditions, delivering a mix of sun with occasional torrential rain, strong winds with occasional lulls, plus, in race three, a giant squall.

Today’s three races have left RC44 newcomers, Nico Poons’ Charisma three points clear of class veteran Chris Bake and his Team Aqua’s 11 points, in turn a point ahead of Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika. These three boats now hold a small advantage over the chasing pack.

Proving that consistency, rather than simply coming first, is what pays in fleet racing, neither Charisma nor Team Aqua won a race today, but their 4-2-2 and 2-4-5 scorelines were enough to leave them a cut above the rest. Charisma’s race two result was particularly impressive given she was over early and had to restart.

Despite holding first place, Nico Poons was not resting on his laurels: “Leading after the first day doesn’t mean anything. We have no drops so until the last finish of the last race it can go anywhere.”

Today’s first race saw Team Nika continue her unbeaten run from yesterday when she emerged as the top boat in the match racing held off the Swedish island hosting this event.

In race two it was the turn of Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedev’s Synergy Russian Sailing Team. According to the team’s tactician, America’s Cup winning helmsman Ed Baird, they had headed right out of the start and then played the shifts up the first beat, nosing ahead of Team Aqua and Team Nika at the weather mark, from where they led for the remainder of the race.

Despite the onshore breeze, today it was all about playing the shifts correctly, explained Baird: “Typically you think one side is better and today it was less that way than normal. There seemed to be these long shifts that you needed to be on the correct side of rather than just going to one side of the race course.”

The surprise performance of the day came in the third race when Katusha managed to claim her first win of the season. Co-owners Vladimir Sokolov and Robert Filimonov only acquired the boat this year and the RC44 is the first yacht racing they have ever done. The owners alternate steering and can still count the number of days they have raced on their hands. Today it was Sokolov’s turn: “This is our first win, so I am very happy, it is a great feeling,” he said. “We have been close a few times, but we’ve never managed a win. I am learning a lot, but I have a great teacher in Andy Horton, who is our captain and my tutor since my first regatta. It is because of him that this happened.”

Race three was by far the most dramatic of the day with a giant rain cloud encroaching on the right side of the course bringing with it gusts of up to 26 knots and a 50 degree right hand wind shift.

As Katusha’s tactician, America’s Cup and Olympic Star sailor Andy Horton explained: “We went for the cloud and had a good couple of moments on port and were able to lead the boats to the right of us. We got around the weather mark ahead and we lost a boat on the run, but we went around the leeward mark in a huge right shift and were the first boat to tack. Then when the breeze came back about 30 degrees after the cloud moved out of the way that sprung us pretty good.”

Generally today’s conditions made for great sailing. As Team Aqua’s Chris Bake explained: “It felt really variable – when the gusts came through they were interesting. All in all it was great conditions and great racing, the fleet is really tight and you can see that coming around the marks when things get very exciting. It is good to get out there and good to be pushed.”

Watching the action today was Sweden’s most famous racing sailor, yacht designer and former America’s Cup helmsman, Pelle Petterson, whose daughter’s company Pelle P is official clothing supplier to the RC44 class. “The RC44s are nice boats to watch and they do so well in these conditions,” he said. “It is amazing, they can keep full sail. Today it was very bumpy and was a really good test for the crew and the boats.”

RC44 Marstrand World Championship Overall Ranking
(After three races)
1. Charisma 4 2 2 – 8
2. Team Aqua 2 4 5 – 11
3. Team Nika 1 3 8 – 12
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team 8 1 9 – 18
5. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team 3 11 4 – 18
6. Bronenosec Sailing Team 6 9 3 – 18
7. Artemis Racing 9 5 6 – 20
8. Katusha 13DNF 7 1 – 21
9. Artemis Racing Youth 11 6 7 – 24
10. Bombarda Racing 7 8 10 – 25
11. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge 5 13DNF 11 – 29
12. MAG Racing 10 10 12 – 32

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